RICHMOND, Ky. – Eastern Kentucky University’s men’s basketball team went 6-for-6 at the free throw line in the final minute to secure a 78-72 win over Southern Illinois University Edwardsville on Saturday and improve to 3-1 in Ohio Valley Conference play.
For the game, EKU made 27-of-35 (77 percent) at the charity stripe. The Colonels attempted 10 more free throws and out-scored the Cougars (16-for-25) by 11 at the free throw line.
SIU Edwardsville (4-13, 1-3 OVC) took a 56-55 lead on a lay-up from Tyresse Williford with 14:04 left in the game but the Cougars scored just two points over the next 4:42. Eastern rolled off an 8-2 run during that time to seize control. Two free throws by Lachlan Anderson with 12:10 to play put the home squad up 57-56 and the Colonels never trailed again.
Anderson scored half of the eight points during the run. A free throw by Jomaru Brown capped it and gave EKU (6-11, 3-1 OVC) a 63-58 advantage.
SIUE closed within two on five occasions and got as close as one once. The Cougars had the ball down three, 72-69, with 40 seconds to go when Brown came up with a steal and made a pair of free throws on the other end with 35.4 showing on the clock. Russhard Cruickshank hit two with 16.4 left and Brown put in two more with 2.6 seconds remaining.
Brown finished the night with a team-high 20 points. Anderson had 14 points and nine rebounds. Michael Moreno scored 14 and grabbed eight boards. Cruickshank contributed nine points, six assists and had just one turnover.
Southern Illinois Edwardsville shot 50 percent (25-of-50) from the field compared to 39 percent (22-of-57) for Eastern Kentucky. However, the Colonels turned 13 offensive rebounds and 17 SIUE turnovers into 28 points in addition to holding an 11-point edge at the free throw line.
Williford led SIUE with 20 points and six rebounds. Zeke Moore added 17 points.
The Colonels will play at Belmont on Thursday. Tip-off in Nashville is scheduled for 9 p.m. ET.